Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 87

Jako Retief

The temperatures were approaching the high 30s. It was late February. Jako was wondering how Roderick’s trial was progressing. He imagined the judge, counsel, lawyers and the accused, as well as an enthralled gallery, sweating inside the Eshowe Court while the trial unfolded.

He was pissed off about having to spend more time in prison. He knew he shouldn’t be there. But, what if he, Jako, was found guilty of murdering Madelaine Roderick? It was ridiculous to even consider the possibility. He was innocent, and Chris was, too. Chris would be sure to hang.... Stuff it – he had to stop these wayward thoughts.

He wondered whether Chris was experiencing similar lines of thought. He also wondered what Chris was being subjected to. Hell in the form of the evil blacks and the torment of uncertainty of his future. He was sure that unless Roderick was found guilty that Chris would be destined for the gallows.

Stop thinking like that. Fuck! Jako tried to change his thoughts to positive ones, but he failed.

It was a Tuesday, just after 6am, and time for the first rations of the day. He heard footsteps in the corridor immediately outside the solid jail door. This was followed by the rattle of heavy bolts sliding to open the protected doorway.

A police officer was standing on the threshold. “You’re needed at Eshowe Court at 9am. Clean yourself up. We’ll drive you to the court. So you know, there will be cops in the front of the van and at the back, too.”

He arrived and entered through a secure door at the back of the court. It looked much like it did from the outside – ordinary and without character.

Then he saw George and Sam Thomson. They were in the gallery, beyond the waist-high partition that divided people who were charged from those who weren’t. Jako assumed that the Thomson’s had a direct interest whether Roderick was found guilty or not.

Jako’s hands were handcuffed in front of him, but he waved in acknowledgement to the 50-somethingish couple. He looked down between them, and there was Kate-Emily. She escaped her foster parents with two steps to the waist-high wooden barricade and cleared with one leap.

The policeman grabbed her by the wrists when she was a couple of steps from Jako: “Where are you going?”

Jako saw his five-year-old daughter sink her teeth to the bone of the policeman’s right hand. Horror and shock at the savage attack meant that the officer immediately loosened his grip, letting Kate-Emily jump up into her father’s arms. Despite being manacled, Jako managed to hug her.

Another policeman shouted: “Put the girl down!” He saw George enter through the waist-high door and approach Jako. Over the shouting, George pried Kate-Emily from Jako’s arms. Jako was in two minds: Release his daughter or carry on hugging her.

Eventually one of the policemen (the one without the savaged hand), detached Kate-Emily from Jako’s neck.

Jako looked at the wounded policeman. He leered at Kate-Emily, and the full court heard him say: “You fucking bitch!”

Kate-Emily stuck her tongue out at him.

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